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Learning the Power of Connection

Bloomberg Scholars meet the philanthropist who changed their lives
Posted May 28, 2015

What newly minted alumnus Josh Temple carries away from campus — along with his chemical and biomolecular engineering degree and minor in entrepreneurship and management — are the lifelong connections he made at Johns Hopkins.

“You can sit down and have a pretty intelligent conversation with anyone at Hopkins, and I love that a lot of people have interesting dreams and goals,” Temple says. “My classmates will be all over the world; people I knew in college will be leaders in their field and doing interesting work. That’s a network that’s important to me.”

It’s not lost on Temple that he was able to attend Hopkins and make those connections because of the Bloomberg Scholarship program, which provides an average of $52,000 in financial aid to hundreds of Hopkins students annually. As a student, when he penned annual thank-you letters to Michael Bloomberg — who, before he became a successful businessman, Hopkins board chair, mayor of New York, and international philanthropist, was a Hopkins engineering student like himself — Temple thought about the renowned graduate’s decision to give away so much of his wealth, and pondered his own potential generosity in the future.

“His example has impacted the way I think about giving, whether giving back to Hopkins or in other ways,” Temple says.

When Temple arrived at Hopkins, one of his goals was to contribute to a scientific field through discovery or creation. Looking back now on the three years he spent working to regenerate bone with stem cells in Professor Warren Grayson’s biomedical engineering lab — and attending conferences and co-authoring papers that have since been cited elsewhere — he knows he achieved that end.

Just as importantly, he discovered the lab isn’t really his calling, isn’t people-oriented enough, he says. Instead, as music coordinator for Hopkins Christian Fellowship, he found a passion for leadership and began exploring the world of business. In the process, he found an alumnus who connected him with a job next year at a New York City mentorship and networking institute for executives.

It’s experiences like that, Temple says, that made him jump at the chance to visit Bloomberg Philanthropies — the New York City organization encompassing all of Bloomberg’s charitable activities, to the tune of $462 million last year alone — in April and, along with other Bloomberg Scholars, meet Michael Bloomberg in person.

He was fascinated when, over lunch, Bloomberg told the Scholars that success doesn’t always come from being the smartest or having the best ideas — often it’s just about working harder and longer, arriving at work earlier and staying later, and staying the course when others doubt.

Grace Golden, a member of the Krieger School’s Class of 2016, is double majoring in anthropology and art history with a minor in the Program in Museums and Society. Golden’s time at Hopkins has been crucial in helping her define her interests and passions, and in taking the first steps to pursue them, she says.

Like Temple, it’s been about connections: a class with the director of Scholarly Programs and Publications at The Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Galleries led to the chance to help curate an exhibit there, which led to an internship.

“It’s hard to say if I would have found the art history track elsewhere,” Golden says of the opportunity to create her double major. “Hopkins made it easy because the departments are so intertwined that it felt like a natural progression. If it was a bigger school or somewhere the classes were not cross-listed or the departments were not working together, I’m not sure it would have happened.”

A Bloomberg Scholar like Temple, Golden also feels immense gratitude for the support she receives and was eager to make the trip to New York — but didn’t expect it to overlap much with her academic interests. She was delighted to discover that Bloomberg Philanthropies features its own gallery space with constantly changing art and invests in the development of apps that enhance the visitor experience at leading museums across the country.

She finished the visit feeling welcomed into a small community within Hopkins — the Bloomberg Scholars — and a new appreciation for the man whose generosity made it possible.